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Technical hitches slow down Huduma Namba registration

Saturday April 20 2019

Huduma Namba

Residents of Uasin Gishu County queue at MV Patel Memorial Hall in Eldoret to register for the National Integrated Identity Management System on April 4, 2019. The process is being affected by problems such as poor network. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SATURDAY NATION TEAM
By SATURDAY NATION TEAM
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Registration for the National Integrated Identity Management System (Niims) that started this week might fall short of netting its target due to challenges posed by the machines and network hitches.

This comes even as President Uhuru Kenyatta said that, since the exercise started 16 days ago, a total of 11 million people had registered for the Huduma Namba. The government is targeting to register 40 million citizens by May 17.

In his Easter message to Kenyans, President Kenyatta also announced that registration for Kenyans who live abroad will kick off on May 6 and will be conducted in embassies and consulates.

A spot check by Saturday Nation this week established that faulty machines were hampering the exercise.

In the North Rift, defective kits have frustrated the exercise with officials revealing that the machines had broken down, forcing them to suspend the exercise to a later date.

DELAYS

Residents of Uasin Gishu expressed their disappointment saying that the machines were a let-down and discouragement, with long queues characterising the exercise in Eldoret.

Mr Jesse Kiprotich, a resident, on Friday said that he had been in the queue at the town’s Huduma Centre for over four hours and was yet to make any significant progress towards the registration booth.

A registration assistant in Soy constituency who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the exercise has been marred by challenges.

“The gadgets at times fail to capture fingerprints, forcing us to repeat the process more than five times, which slows down the process. Apart from that we usually run out of registration forms and are forced to close for the day,” said the source.

In Trans Nzoia, only 160,000 residents had registered by close of business on Friday.

The number is way far below the government’s target of 1.3 million. County commissioner Samson Ojwang’ asked residents to take advantage of the Easter holiday and turn out to register.

NETWORK

In Baringo, the exercise has been marred by poor network coverage in far-flung areas, County Commissioner Henry Wafula confirmed.

However, he said that locals were turning out in large numbers in various parts of the region.

The county commissioner noted that the registration in the region stands at 56 percent.

In Bomet County, faulty registration machines have hampered the exercise.

For instance, the Saturday Nation on Thursday witnessed an error in which the machines jammed and failed to generate an electronic number.

Officials issued reference numbers and told those affected to collect a number containing their details on a later date.

County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said that the hitch had mostly affected Konoin Sub-County in the last one week, which decelerated the exercise.

He said that a total of 200,000 residents had been registered out of the targeted 1.2 million.

INADEQUATE DEVICES

In Kakamega, the exercise was delayed due to inadequate biometric machines and network hitches.

This is working against the soaring number of applicants turning out to be registered.

For instance, it took the officials a whole week to start the registration exercise because the machines had malfunctioned.

County commissioner Abdulrizak Jaldesa said the region had received an additional 61 biometric machines.

In Nyanza, where 1.4 million people have been registered, Regional Commissioner James Kianda announced that the agents will from next week visits specific institutions, including hospitals.

This is after they received additional registration kits as directed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i last week when he visited Kisumu to oversee the progress of the exercise.

“Starting Tuesday, we will be targeting a specific population: who are the sick and those working in industrial areas, supermarkets among others. We will visit the places to register them,” Mr Kianda said Friday.

REPAIR

Counties in the region that reported delays when the exercise kicked off include Homa Bay and Kisii - which have registered 250,000 and 300,000 people respectively.

In Vihiga, several registration assistants by Friday evening were still complaining of the state of the gadgets they were using.

The Saturday Nation has established that five ICT officers have been stationed in Vihiga, Sabatia, Hamisi, Luanda and Emuhaya sub-counties to fix gadget failures.

This is after it emerged that most officials were carrying out transmission of data at night because of network hitches.

In Nakuru, most regions are struggling to hit the target. According to officials, few machines, network problems and breakdowns have derailed the process.

County Commissioner Erustus Mbui said the county had managed to register about 1.5 million people by April 18.

TARGET

He said the region is keen to register at least 800,000 more before the May 17 deadline.

“We have not yet reached our daily target of 51,800 people but, as per April 18, at least 1.5 million people had registered with about 38,000 registering every day,” he said.

The county has a total of 2.3 million people who are expected to register.

In Mombasa, network failure affected the exercise with local administrators concerned that they would not meet the expected target of 3.5 million.

A spot check by the Saturday Nation on Friday, revealed that very few people were turning up for the registration.

Coast regional commissioner John Elungata said 500,000 people are registered daily.

“We register at least 50,000 every day, and we are targeting more than 3.5 million people. There are challenges to do with the network in some areas, but we are working to address the issues,” said Mr Elungata.

A look at the numbers reveals that the region could fail to hit its target since it would have registered 2.3 million over the stipulated 45 days, should the inherent challenges persist.